Synthesis of Sign Deterioration Rates across the United States
In response to minimum retroreflectivity standards, transportation departments are implementing sign asset management strategies, which rely upon knowledge of how retroreflectivity decreases as signs weather and age. To provide this knowledge, the writers field measured over 1,000 in-service signs in scattered NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) divisions, collecting age and retroreflectivity data for white, yellow, red, and green signs and for ASTM sheeting Types I and III. Data from this study and data from five similar U.S. efforts were analyzed using regression to identify the best available deterioration rate estimates, finding that retroreflectivity minimums are usually reached eight to 15 years after installation. Initial results indicated that the best-fitting relationships between retroreflectivity and age were generally linear and that these models were significant despite having low R2 values. Because age did not explain some of the variance, the writers reevaluated their data including NCDOT divisions as a factor, finding that sign deterioration differed significantly by division, indicating that handling practices, manufacturing differences, and environmental exposure may be key deterioration model factors that merit future study.